Quartz Daily Brief—Greece teeters, Cigna blows off Anthem, Taylor Swift dumps Apple, QR codes gone wild

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The EU’s last-ditch efforts to keep Greece solvent… European finance ministers are expected to attend an emergency meeting in Brussels to continue talks on Greece’s future in the euro zone, with hopes that a six-month extension of the country’s bailout loans and a debt relief plan could forestall a sudden exit.

…and solve their migrant problem. European foreign ministers and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon are in Luxembourg to discuss the migration crisis spurred by immigrants flocking across the Mediterranean and into Europe.

Controversial decisions from the US Supreme Court. Rulings on eleven cases, including the fate of gay marriage and the future of the US health care reform, could be released as soon as Monday as the highest court in the US approaches the end of its spring term.

Acrimony at South African gold mines.  The head of the country’s largest union of miners criticized the industry’s “apartheid” wage system ahead of today’s contract negotiations between the union and the mining companies.

Over the weekend

China spent a year with administrative access to US government networks. US officials tracing the breach of personal data from more than a million federal employees and contractors say that hackers in China had top level access to US networks for more than a year.

Chinese stock regulator accused of abuse of power. After Chinese stocks suffered one of the worst weeks of trading in years, the country’s securities regulator fired a top official after police began investigations of insider trading connected to her husband.

Cigna’s blew off Anthem’s buy-out offer. After weeks of speculation, the second-largest US health insurance company announced a bid to buy smaller rival Cigna for $54 billion, but Cigna said the offer was too low.

Taylor Swift said no to Apple’s streaming plans. Since artists won’t get paid during the three-month trial of Apple’s soon-to-launch streaming music service, the pop star won’t make her most recent album 1989 available for its listeners.

Germany seizes a journalist on Egypt’s behalf. Ahmed Mansour, a British-Egyptian employee of Al Jazeera, was detained by German authorities, reportedly at Egypt’s request. An Egyptian court convicted Mansour of “torture,” but Egypt’s military government has raised serious questions about the rule of law with its crackdown on journalists.

US-Israeli relations were complicated by a tweet. Judy Nir Mozes, the wife of Israel’s interior minister, criticized Barack Obama in a tweet some have called racist. She has since apologized and the offending tweet has been deleted.

Quartz obsession interlude

Sonali Kohli on how enterprising developers not only ride the wave of gentrification, but spur it. “As much as gentrification is an organic process, fueled by opportunity seekers and bargain hunters, it’s developers and financiers who have become the savvy midwives of change. Once they detect the early signs of gentrification, they bring on the serious money.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Anti-intellectualism is killing the US. From ignoring science to opposition of rational policy, America’s fate is linked to the nation’s culture of ignorance.

It was a mistake to bail out Greece in 2011. Better to default on debt held by private creditors than leave European governments in the lurch.

Forty years after it was made, Jaws has ruined horror films. Its success changed the way studios thought about scary movies, forcing the best films to be made by independent producers.

The “dark web” is a myth. There is just as much nefarious activity on the everyday web as there is on the anonymous Tor network, where sites like now-shuttered bitcoin market Silk Road operate.

Surprising discoveries

The QR code on your ketchup bottle might link to porn. A German porn company bought a domain name that Heinz let expire, with unfortunate results.

Kids would rather console a victim than punish a perpetrator. The toddlers studied also reacted nearly the same when they were “victim.”

Nigerian-born athletes hold the 100m record on three continents. A result of corruption, recruitment, and the desire to win.

There’s a Welsh-speaking community in southern Argentina. It has even developed its own dialect since colonists arrived 150 years ago.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, redirected QR codes, and language enclaves to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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